Saturday, November 23, 2013

Oh, Potatoes!

Famous Potatoes
Thriving Plants
Promising Harvest
Dirty Tubers
Scabby Skins
Neighbor's Potatoes
Rosy Skins
When I say, "Oh, potatoes!" I mean "Oh, fiddlesticks!" This is a family-friendly blog, otherwise I'd be finding harsher words to express big disappointment. Big. Let's start at the beginning...

It was odd this past spring, to find seed potatoes scarce in Idaho--of all places. Read any local license plate and you'll find the all-American red, white and blue touts, "Idaho, Famous Potatoes." It's potato growing country, right? So, why couldn't I find any seed potatoes?

Worse, I couldn't order any seed potatoes. All my favorite catalogs printed in fine font, "No shipping to Idaho." No shipping to Idaho? What? But we grow them here. Famously! When I asked why, all the seed company could tell me was "per Idaho  regulations."

But lucky for me, I stopped by one last nursery and nabbed their very last bag of seed potatoes. I planted every single one (there were 10). At first sprout, I grew excited. I love potatoes. By mid-summer, my hills were producing promising plants. All 10 of them. Yes, I was going to be famous for potatoes, too!

Because I was late in planting, harvest came in October. But that was okay. I had extended my garden into a winter trial patch and had a gorgeous fall day by which I dug up potatoes. Over 40 pounds! What wonderful, dirty potatoes I had.

Following instructions, I kept them dirty and laid them out on trays to cure in the entryway to my cellar. So they have been curing. I stopped buying potatoes at the store and when my last store-bought potato was fried, I grabbed a handful of tubers to wash.

And discovered scabby skins.

Oh, potatoes! So I bagged up the rest, knocking off dirt and seeing that they were all so inflicted. Did it happen in the garden? While curing? What went wrong? I was not going to be famous at this rate! I peeled them, fried up a batch and they were rubbery. Bad skins, bad texture. Oh, potatoes!

Coming home from Sandpoint, I saw a sign that read potatoes, so I asked Todd to stop. He did and we bought 15 pounds from a woman who has a lovely cabin on a hill. She's from Germany and her husband was former Air Force. Her reds are dirty like my yellows, but wash up into beautiful, tasty rosy globes

We asked what went wrong with my potatoes and she knew instantly--my soil is too rich. Yellow potatoes are most susceptible.Technically, too much nitrogen in my soil. Great for zucchini, not so great for potatoes. She recommended a sandy spot that wasn't pasture (no manure). We have a great swath of sand where the summer grass dies off and we will give that a try.

If I can find seed potatoes. Else my license plate should read, "Oh, Idaho Potatoes!"


  1. Can't you turn family-friendly off for just one post? Now, now, don't go tossin' tubers at me! Seriously, I do wish you much better luck next year.

  2. Ha, ha! No tuber tossin' or word crossin' today! Yes, better potatoes next time.